It’s that time of year again for arbitrary lists of really great albums that were released since the last time I did one of these things. Contributing to my absolute burnout of writing about kick ass metal bands, I can not think of another year where there were just so damn many stellar records released. I simply had to say fuck it, step back, and enjoy the great stuff I already had. Sure, I missed out on some great stuff, but on the other hand, all killer no filler. To try to make up for the insane amount of great albums this year I’ve expanded my usual 10 to 15 and will have an honorable mentions post sometime in the near future. I hope you find yourself something cool to listen to with this list or at least nod in agreement with some of my picks. Thanks for reading, sticking with AMSOM, and being awesome and stuff. Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!
Posted by ChristopherMammal
Sorting out my year-by-year hit parades taught me a lot about myself and my changing tastes in metal. If you’re ever so bored that you start drawing faces on all the potatoes in the pantry, you may find it interesting and perhaps illuminating to do such an exercise too.
The big pattern was clear to me before I started making my lists. Even with my museum exhibit of a brain I knew that I’d been listening to less symphonic and heavy metal and more of the harder music over the years. My personal average scores for all my selections are thus an average over a long period, not a snapshot of any particular year in that period. If there’s been a constant over those two decades, it would be prog metal.
I used a fairly common scoring system to analyse my hit parades. For some years I had as few as ten selections and for the last year, 2013, I chose 25 songs. For the sake of consistency I cut my lists to the top 10 songs for each year. Then, for each year, I scored 10 points for #1, 9 points for #2, and so on down to 1 point for #10. Microsoft Excel did the rest for me.
But first! Yes! Before I insert my lists, it is is time to reveal one of the best-kept secrets in the Universe… the true identity of Dark Metal Cat, my constant adviser and referee. He’s taken off his costume and revealed himself as…
… Tiny Tiny Cakey Kitten, a.k.a. Cookie Cat or Caucus Caterus Cattus or Flubby, the world’s fattest thin cat. He doesn’t play the guitar. He’s a keyboard artist. He can make Windows do things I can’t, and he does it often. My darling wife doesn’t like metal and won’t go to sleep on my desk in front of the monitor, so I couldn’t use her to put in creative typing or exit from unsaved work.
My top bands of the last 21 years
1. Opeth (Sweden), Progressive Death Metal: 73
2. Dream Theater (USA), Progressive Metal: 36
3. Riverside (Poland), Progressive Metal: 33
4. Dimmu Borgir (Norway), Symphonic Black Metal: 29
5. Therion (Sweden), Symphonic Heavy Metal: 27
6. TIE: Borknagar (Norway), Folk Black Metal ~and~ Leprous (Norway), Progressive Metal: 26
8. Arch Enemy (Sweden), Melodic Death Metal: 25
9. Ayreon (Netherlands), Progressive Metal: 24
10. Orphaned Land (Israel), Folk Death Metal: 23
My top metal genres and sub-genres of the last 21 years
1. Symphonic Metal: 127
2. Folk Metal: 125
3. Progressive Death Metal: 105
4. Melodic Death Metal: 87
5. Progressive & Experimental Metal: 78
6. Thrash Metal: 60
7. Gothic Metal: 44
8. TIE: Black Metal ~ and ~ Doom Metal: 39
10. Stoner & Sludge Metal: 38
My top metal countries of the last 21 years
1. Sweden: 219
2. USA: 216
3. Norway: 131
4. UK: 122
5. Finland: 86
6. Netherlands: 71
7. Poland: 65
8. Germany: 43
9. Israel: 33
10. Canada: 26
Album: IV – One With The Storm
Release Date: 3 Nov 14
Length: 79 Minutes (includes two remixed tracks)
Style: Hard to define
Previous Albums: Guided By Fire (2007); Isolation Songs (2009); Until Fear No Longer Defines Us (2011)
FFO: Paradise Lost, Katatonia. Opeth Read the rest of this entry →
A few years ago during one of my forays into ‘that’ part of the internet I stumbled on a blog called Blood and Banjos. It was basically about a guy, let’s call him Mike, who was kicking around the idea of making a record that combined his love of bluegrass music with its polar opposite, black metal. He had a couple of audio clips and ideas posted up, and needless to say, as a lover of any original idea in the realm of metal, I was instantly intrigued and started following the blog regularly. Over time Mike’s vision started to take shape and the idea of an album began to come to fruition. He called upon friends and fellow musicians from all over the US and even Europe to offer their skills on his ideas and offer their own. Then there was a successful Kickstarter campaign which allowed Mike and friends to realize all their ideas, demos, and musings on a full-fledged, professionally recorded album. Needless to say there was a huge amount of passion and time invested in creating this record, and holy hell does it show!
Length: 52 Minutes
Previous Albums: Inflikted (2008); Blunt Force Trauma (2011).
Location: United States / Brazil
FFO: Anything that involves Max Cavalera and/or classic Sepultura. Read the rest of this entry →
I love the power of a good instrumental song. Sometimes they can be energizing or even relaxing depending on the band’s intent with the song. Some bands use an instrumental song to display a different, sometimes softer side. And, sometimes an instrumental is a collection of left over riffs and drum parts that didn’t make the final cut. Or, perhaps they just couldn’t find the words to go with the music. However they are composed, the instrumental song is a track I look for and hope to find on any album; though there are some bands where it’s almost an expectation. This list is 25 word-less songs that I find essential to my music library. I wouldn’t sweat over the exact order, but yeah the ones at or near the top of this list are definitely my favorites. I know there are many more instrumental songs out there, but these are mine…so to speak. This list is also limited to only three per band and only one band made this list three times. Enjoy my top 2!
2. Hell’s Kitchen – Dream Theater
As you can probably tell, I have fondness for Dream Theater’s instrumental songs. This one is the third and final song of my list and if I didn’t make a 3-song rule I might have a few more Dream Theater songs to talk about…obviously my favorite from them. I like the diversity in this song; I can listen to it to relax and I have used it as my opening song and/or closing song on a run. It helps keep my mind at ease when I begin a run and wonder to myself why am I running. By the time the song is over, my heart rate is regulated and I can begin a long run with mostly thrash and death metal to keep me motivated. The attraction here is the lengthy guitar solos and of course combined with the progressive elements makes the song pretty damn perfect.
1. The Ultra-Violence – Death Angel
The main attraction to this song for me is it’s just so raw and full of aggression. These guys were just teenagers when they recorded it back in 1987 for their first album, The Ultra-Violence. This song was also featured in a burger commercial. I have to believe that someone had to know about this band to select that song. This song isn’t something one would just stumble upon while looking for background music to a guy eating a burger. Metalheads are everywhere! Anyway, I am going to let the music do the talking. Thanks for reading my list of 25 favorite instrumental songs. My next list will be 30 intros that instantly grabbed me. Thanks to Mik for inspiring me to do a list of my own on that subject.
Throughout my childhood there have been many films that have captured my impressionable imagination and then warped and raped it. The Secret of Nimh, The Dark Crystal, The Brave Little Toaster, Labyrinth, Dumbo, Watership Down, etc. They were all able to lure me in with colors, cuteness, and imagination and then rip the rug up from under me and show me the dark, seedy underbelly of the world in all its twisted glory. I don’t know why, but I always tended to gravitate toward this style of film in my young age (and well into my teenage years and adulthood). Sitting at the top of horrifically cute films lies the 1971 cinematic masterpiece Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring the great Gene Wilder in the role he was born to play; the magically mad Willy Wonka. From the colorful cinematography to the densely dark under-themes of consumerism and greed the film didn’t shy away for a moment from the fact it was luring young kids into its mind-rape Ford Econoline van with pretty colors and promises of candy.
Another aspect of Willy Wonka that cements it as one of the greatest cinematic achievements is its soundtrack. From happy and uplifting ‘Pure Imagination’ to nightmare inducing boat ride song the music of the flick covered just about every reachable aspect of places ones imagination can go. And I’ll be damned if they weren’t catchy songs. Don’t tell me you don’t find yourself humming the Oompa Loompa songs from time to time. It was simply a quirky, fun, and occasionally dark bit of music. And do you know what else is quirky, fun, and occasionally dark (ok, a bit more than occasionally)? The long-standing oddball band, Primus.
Album: Storm. This is their debut
Release Date: 3 Sep 14
Genre: Stoner / Hard Rock
Length: 44 Minutes
FFO: Kyuss, Bong Cauldron, Gringo, Vista Chino Read the rest of this entry →
Album: Timelapse; this is their fourth album
Release Date: 3 Nov 14
Genre: Avant-Garde / Progressive / Post Death Metal
Length: 43 Minutes
Location: Italy Read the rest of this entry →
Album: The Tyranny of Will
Previous Albums: Worse Than Dead (2013); Exhumed/Iron Reagan Split (2014); Spoiled Identity EP (2014).
Genre: Hardcore / Crossover Thrash / Punk
Songs: 24 (25 if you have the bonus track)
Length: 32 Minutes
From: Richmond, VA, USA
FFO: Municipal Waste, S.O.D., M.O.D., D.R.I., Cro-Mags, Anthrax, Nuclear Assault, Bio-Hazard Read the rest of this entry →